Avert.org defines sex education as:
"The process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships, and intimacy. Sex education is also about developing young people's skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices."
Sex education is not equal or uniform across the United States. According to Planned Parenthood, only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education in schools – and how these health classes are taught varies drastically between states and districts. This topic has long been controversial, as some parents don’t want their child’s innocence tainted, and others want their children to be safe and informed, especially coming into their teen years.
In a Planned Parenthood poll on sex education, 93% of parents supported teaching sex education in middle school, and 96% of parents supported having it taught in high school. Comprehensive sex education covers biology and sexual activity, but also, as mentioned in the quote above, it is about young people understanding their sexual identity. This encompasses gender, sexuality, relationships, and physical and mental health. Comprehensive sex education would provide young people with knowledge of safe sex practices, means of protection, understanding STD’s, and could lead to lower teen-pregnancy rates. It also could provide young people with a means of understanding their sexual preferences and allow them to construct a positive relationship with themselves and others. Whether choosing abstinence or choosing to be sexually active at a young age, comprehensive sexual education provides the tools for a young person to make an informed choice.
On the oppositional side of sex education, some religions, like Catholicism, uphold the idea that sex is reserved solely for reproductive purposes, and also that same-sex love or marriage is unholy. If comprehensive sex ed were to be taught across the U.S. in all schools, it would not be the first choice for religious extremists. There are parents who want the job of sex education to fall on their shoulders, as some may believe that middle school and high school is too early to learn about sex and reproductive health. With the lax policies for sex education in schools, it seems that these people are the ones benefitting from the United States’ current regulations on sex education.
What do you think?
Avert, Learn & Share, https://www.avert.org/learn-share, 03/13/2019,11/20/2019
Planned Parenthood, What’s the State of Sex Education in the U.S.? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/for-educators/whats-state-sex-education-us, 11/20/19